Three Jasper campgrounds closed as Chetamon wildfire causes power troubles

 Wednesday, September 7, 2022 


A Parks Canada official said Tuesday that overnight rain helped firefighters target key areas of the out-of-control Chetamon Mountain wildfire in Jasper National Park.

But as Jasper struggles with power outages, the limited availability of generator power has forced the closure of Whistlers, Wapiti and Wabasso campgrounds until at least Sept. 11.

Jasper National Park acting field unit superintendent Jasmine Ramratan said in an update that they have a window of opportunity, thanks to the short-lived relief in (wildfire) behaviour, and this is expected to continue until Wednesday.

Without more rain, the wildfire will progressively become more intense in the coming days.

The wildfire was sparked Sept. 1 by a lightning storm, and over the weekend it reached the right-of-way for the ATCO transmission lines that power the municipality of Jasper.

ATCO’s Amanda Mattern said multiple transmission structures have been damaged. Officials are set to start assessing the extent of the issues now that the area has been deemed safe.

Crews had to switch to generator power to maintain critical infrastructure like the water treatment plant and the hospital.

Another power outage was set to begin at 1 p.m. to start the process of restoring power across the town, but around 1:30, ATCO reported that they were experiencing an “unplanned outage,” which was still being used as an opportunity to do their power restoration work.

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